Wed, August 4, 2004
U.S. ARMY RUNAWAY TO CANADA LOSES REFUGEE CLAIM
By TOM GODFREY, TORONTO SUN
THE FIRST of three U.S. Army deserters who fled to Canada to avoid military service has lost his refugee claim and is being booted back across the border. The name of the soldier, who lives in the Toronto area, and details about his case were not released by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) due to privacy concerns.
Two other U.S. Army privates — Jeremy Hinzman, 25, and Brandon Hughey, 18 –have also filed refugee claims and appeared for hearings in Toronto last month.
The IRB, in a decision obtained yesterday, didn’t believe the unidentified soldier would be tortured or killed for bolting on his platoon members, adding the soldier was not a conventional refugee or a person in need of protection.
“He feared the penalties imposed for desertion would amount to cruel and unusual punishment,” the board said in a partial decision.
IRB spokesman Serge Arsenault said the full decision wasn’t available yesterday.
“The claimant feared that because of multiple charges he might face eight years in the brig,” the board said, adding the man could have faced the death penalty if the U.S. was at war when he bolted.
The IRB said the soldier was not a conscientious objector and had no religious or moral reason for disobeying orders.
Meanwhile, Hinzman and Hughey had their hearings before the IRB adjourned until later this year.
Hinzman served in Afghanistan as a cook, but fled here from the 82nd Airborne Regiment in North Carolina last January when he was called for action in Iraq.
ORDERED TO IRAQ
Hughey joined the military in 2002 and was ready to take part in military operations until he was ordered to Iraq. He fled to Canada after slipping past military police in March.
now, my turn.
I am SO glad they turfed this bum – don’t get me wrong; I believe that refugee status is a Good Thing and should be offered to the people that deserve it – and this guy had nothing more than a wish not to go where he was told and not to do the paperwork to get out. He could have filed for objector status; he could have done a lot more but instead he ran for the border and my country, finally, found enough internal fortitude to toss him back.
one can only hope he enjoys his time in the stockade.